Saturday I completed my longest mtb ride yet.  Though my wife keeps telling me the 10 hour ride we took way back when on the Wasatch Crest was the longest, I still don’t think it had the distance as we spent about a third of that day hike-a-biking. 

So the Zuni 100…then 86er…finally decided to be 83 miles.  That distance is according to my bike computer (which was calibrated with my gps and the Chupacabras) and Troy M’s gps.  Ride time 8:02, total time 8:31.  My goal was 8:30.  So I’m pleased.  I flatted once, stopped to add some air once, stopped to chat to lots of riders who were doing the 43er….or whatever distance it was…, stopped to chat to guys on the 83er who missed one of the side loops, and ate a decent pile of pasta soaked in soy sauce while back at camp at the half-way point.

Total singletrack was about 76 miles.  When I say singletrack, I mean SINGLETRACK.  Not old doubletrack now converted or grown into single track, but pure singletrack.  The course was ridden in both directions.  The trails in McGaffey are what I call “fat man” trails.  They don’t have a lot of sustained climbing and most of the climbing consists of middle ring spins out of washes and mellow switchbacks up stuff that should just go straight up.  Granny gear not required.  Very single speed friendly. 

If my SS was more comfortable, I would have given it a go.  But the comfort and second nature feeling of my Racer-X made my choice easy.  It’s my “go to” bike, so I felt it deserved the a good hard ride through lots of singletrack.

If you’ve never ridden the Piedmont of the Carolinas in late fall or winter, and you live out west and don’t see the need to go east, then ride the trails at McGaffey outside of Gallup, NM.  You’ll get the same feeling with less humidity and higher altitude.  There’s lots of packed sand and pine needles just like the piedmont except the species of pines are different.

Despite a serious lack of organization, lots of people showed up to support Gallup Trails 2010 (though I didn’t know it was a gathering to benefit 2010 until later), listen to several bands, camp in a beautiful little canyon, hang out with a couple of America’s top mountain bikers, drink some good beer, and ride lots of trails.  My dog was happy, Jen was happy, I was happy.  I didn’t see any sad faces until we left. 

Here’s the homebrew contest.  I actually got some suckers to drink my 2 year old porter.  My camera sucks…especially at night.

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This is me post ride trying to explain to Dara why I’m such a salty sweater.  Not like the sweater you wear, but sweat.  Just look at the picture, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

after the ride

I lost count of the number of barbed wire fences I climbed over and crawled under, and I lost the trail about a dozen times. No one got lost, just off track.  My cue card system worked well.  When I finished, some guys asked if they could take a picture of the cockpit of my bike with the cue card taped to it.  They thought it was super cool.  I didn’t even look at it on the way back, but the first lap’s card had mileage and it was referenced a few times.

If you are a fast rider, my suggestion is to buy the Gallup Waypoints trail book and ride on your own.  There are a few fast guys in town…..Jack, Pete, and some others.  But the average Gallupiun will only get through about a 1/4 of the trails out there in a day and they like to stop a lot.  Jen and Dara rode almost half the trails in a loop fashion that incorporated Hwy 400 in less than 3 hours.  They are fast, but they were being girls and having fun that day.  I’m glad they didn’t do the big ride as they probably would have schooled me.

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